(AP) NRA says Congress will not pass weapons ban
By EILEEN SULLIVAN
As Vice President Joe Biden finalizes a package of recommendations for the president to curb gun violence, the National Rifle Association predicted that Congress is likely to block any new laws that would ban assault weapons.
The NRA has so far prevented passage of another assault weapons ban like the one that expired in 2004. But some lawmakers say the December massacre in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman slaughtered 20 young children and six adults, has transformed the country, and Americans are ready for stricter gun laws.
Still, the NRA says it thinks Congress would likely prevent a new assault weapons ban.
Biden is to meet Monday with House members to discuss ways to reduce gun violence. He is expected to give President Barack Obama a comprehensive package of recommendations Tuesday.
Senators plan to introduce a bill that would ban assault weapons and limit the size of ammunition magazines, like the equipment used in the Newton shooting where 20 children were shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has promised to make a renewed push for a ban on assault weapons.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., responded with a flat-out “no” when asked Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” whether Congress would pass a ban on assault weapons.
Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a lifelong member of the NRA, has said everything should be on the table to prevent another tragedy like Newtown. But he assured gun owners he would fight for gun rights at the same time.
The NRA’s deep pockets help bolster allies and punish lawmakers who buck the powerful weapons lobby.
The group spent at least $24 million in the 2012 elections _ $16.8 million through its political action committee and nearly $7.5 million through its affiliated Institute for Legislative Action. Separately, the NRA spent some $4.4 million through July 1 to lobby Congress. Keene insists the group represents its members and not just the gun manufacturers, though he said the NRA would like industry to contribute more money to the association.
The NRA, instead, is pushing for measures that would keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, until a person gets better.
Currently, a person is banned from buying a gun from a licensed dealer if the person is a fugitive, a felon, convicted of substance abuse, convicted of domestic violence, living in the U.S. illegally or someone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.”
States, however, are inconsistent in providing information about mentally ill residents to the federal government for background checks. And, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said some 40 percent of gun sales happen with no background checks, often at gun shows or through private sellers over the Internet or in classified ads.
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